Viagra is an erectile dysfunction medication comprising of an essential ingredient called sildenafil citrate. It works to boost erection by relaxing the muscles found in the walls of blood vessels and by improving the flow of blood to certain parts of the body, particularly the genitals. Some research suggests that this ED med could also be considered as a possibility for heart failure treatment. However, an animal study conducted by a few group of researchers suggests that this drug could have different effects on male as well as the female.
The active ingredient in Viagra is known to work by dilating the blood vessels to increase the flow of blood. In patients with erectile dysfunction, this flow of blood is directed towards the penis. The effect that this medicine brings is similar to that of other drugs like the nitrates which are used in order to improve the flow of blood towards the damaged heart. Another research also stated that this medicine has some benefits on the muscles and so scientists are now evaluating if sildenafil could be utilized as a form of treatment for treating patients with heart failures.
Study on Viagra for heart failure treatment
According to health experts, heart failure is the common reason for patients being admitted in hospitals in US among the other people who visit hospitals for getting diagnosed and treated for various other health ailments. Certain medications like the ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers already work to improve the blood pumping efficiency of the heart. However, experts also say that these meds do not completely address the underlying pathology.
When a person undergoes even a mild injury in the muscle cells of the heart, it could result in severe changes within the heart tissues. Hypertension, heart attacks, arteriosclerosis and other issues can cause the heart to enlarge or stiffen the chambers of the heart. These alterations weaken the heart which in turn reduces the efficiency of blood circulation. As the remodeling of the cardiac is an underlying mechanism, a lot of research has been conducted in order to stop or reverse this.
Viagra and cardiac remodeling
The research conducted reveals that there is a molecule that is responsible for a biochemical cascade that is helpful and relieves stress and hypertension. One strategic pool of this molecule known as cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is maintained in the heart cells, however it can become depleted when there is a heart problem. But sildenafil is known to inhibit the enzyme PDE5 which in turn depletes the reservoirs of cGMP. Therefore it is known to be effective in raising the levels of cGMP in order to battle the cardiac diseases.
The study further focused in understanding the benefits of cGMP like the way it interacts with estrogen which has naturally protective properties towards the heart. This time in the research, the team removed the ovaries from almost half of the female mice which indicate that these mice had only low estrogen levels. The mice were treated with sildenafil for cardiac remodeling. However this was observed to be less effective in the mice as the half of estrogen was very low. This indicates that estrogen can impact the response of sildenafil in Viagra when it is administered for heart failure treatment.